The National Farmers’ Federation has congratulated Trade Minister Don Farrell for turning down an EU trade offer that would have disadvantaged Aussie farmers.
Speaking following the briefing of industry representatives in Osaka, NFF President David Jochinke said the Minister had made the right call for Australia.
“Today’s decision was a hard one, but ultimately it was the right one. We thank Minister Farrell and Agriculture Minister Murray Watt for standing by Australian farmers and walking away from an unacceptable offer,” Mr Jochinke said.
“It’s disappointing the Europeans weren’t willing to put something commercially meaningful on the table. This was always going to be a tough negotiation with no guarantee of an outcome.
“What was on offer would have hardwired protectionism into our trading relationship with Europe for another generation. It would have locked our farmers in at a disadvantage to competitors in New Zealand, Canada and South America.
“Australia has always been a champion for open and fair trade on the world stage. Today’s decision by Minister Farrell continues that legacy.
“Ultimately, we all want a deal with the EU that benefits both sides. We encourage the Government to maintain dialogue with the EU to work towards this if and when the time is right.
“It should be clear though to the EU from today’s events that Minister Farrell isn’t willing to throw Aussie farmers under the bus just to get the deal done.
“He’s held firm to protect Australia’s interests in the face of intense pressure from EU negotiators, and for that we’re incredibly grateful.
“We’d like to thank Australia’s team of negotiators and the team from the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry who have worked tirelessly to produce a meaningful outcome, we hope those efforts will be rewarded with a deal in the future,” Mr Jochinke concluded.